I would like to address a touchy subject; welfare abuse. Do not read further if you are easily offended. Even though there are many good people who do need welfare to survive and help them back on their feet, there are a number of people who do abuse the system making it harder for those who do need the money. I would like to address the poor structure of the SSI system and the VA disability benefits system.
Take for example, there are people who I personally know who triple dip the system. The person receives nearly 3K in VA disability benefits, 980 in SSI, free housing, medi-cal, and a monthly allotment in food stamps (which will soon stop). The system in this case allows him to gather all of these benefits legally. There is written in the provisions of the Social Security Act that VA beneficiaries are also legally entitled to SSI benefits. SSI is a needs based program designed to help those with disabilities manage their day to day expenses. Unlike SSDI it is needs based meaning that you must under a certain income limit to qualify for SSI. I believe the amount if 750 monthly before they start to severely cut the amount of SSI received. In addition, unearned income must be under 2K a month to qualify. This places a strain for those who do strive to follow the rules. With the few exceptions such as having an ABLE account, the beneficiary struggles to make payments for rent, medical care, and food and basic needs. However, when someone is pulling a nice monthly amount from VA benefits totaling close to 3K a month AND then you add on 1K in SSI, it takes the NEED based part out of the program. In California, making 4K a month alone from government benefits is far better than minimum wage. And this is without lifting a finger. Add on free housing and medical care, and you are looking at more than 4K a month. The issue I take with this unique case is that I know the individual has bragged openly about gaming the system and takes pleasure in being able to drink and shoot up all of his benefits. He does not suffer from anything beyond a poor temper. He has verbally disclosed this to me personally. VA benefits and SSI are not contingent on working and a VA beneficiary’s amount of monthly benefits does not decrease if the beneficiary makes an income no matter how large or small. In addition, unlike SSI, the VA beneficiary does not have to spend his or her lump sum back pay within a 6 month period. With SSI many recipients are forced to spend their back pay within a given time period, (usually 6 months) or be penalized or lose their benefits. In a way the beneficiary is forced to stay poor to keep their SSI rather than create a small nest egg from which they can rebuild their lives.
If I had a say, I would change the system to that VA beneficiaries are ineligible to triple dip. If a person makes that much money, they should not dip into a NEEDS based system where many impoverished disabled persons struggle to complete applications and have their cases approved. Many poor persons need to go through several appeals which can take years while there are people who triple dip the system and never have to lift a finger again to work. And the bragging. Please. It does not make people who do receive public assistance appear in a good light. It just reinforces a stereotype that welfare recipients are lazy mooches that are proud of their free checks. Not all of them are like that. Just my two cents on a touchy matter that sometimes affects conservatees.
What are the pros and cons of conservatorship vs not getting it and what are the recommendations? When considering whether conservatorship is the best option for your loved one you should know the pros and cons of seeking a conservatorship.
There are many pros for establishing a LPS conservatorship over your loved one. The LPS conservatorship is the most restrictive of all conservatorships. LPS conservatorship grants the conservator the right to make psychiatric medical decisions on behalf of the conservatee whereas a probate conservatorship and limited conservatorship do not permit the conservator to force the conservatee to take psychotropic medication. This is a big deal for many since family members often spend years fighting their loved ones on making them take their necessary medication.
The conservator can also mandate that the conservatee be in a closed locked treatment where regular conservatorships do not permit the conservatee to be placed in a closed locked facility against their will. If the conservatee objects the conservator can still mandate that the conservatee be in a closed locked facility. This ensures that your loved one does not stray or leave the facility against their own best interest.
The LPS conservator has the right to see all of the conservatee's medical documents and have an input into what treatment the conservatee receives. The conservator may speak to the doctor about the conservatee's prognosis and recommend treatment options for the conservatee. Probate conservators and limited conservators do have some medical decision making powers but they are limited to regular medical decisions.
The time it takes for an LPS conservatorship to be established is short compared to probate conservatorships, but the process itself is quite complex. LPS conservatorships are managed by the county. Whereas probate conservatorships can be initiated by anyone, LPS conservatorship referrals may only be sent in by a psychiatrist. The patient or a family member cannot make a recommendation to the public conservator to start a case. The family member will usually be turned away or told that their loved one needs to be in a treatment facility such as a hospital before an LPS conservatorship can be initiated.
Due to such a high case load the public conservator is often fairly conservative in who they conserve. If a person demonstrates reasonable efforts to take care of themselves or comport themselves for the brief time of the interview or hospitalization the public conservator will dismiss the case. They tend to conserve those who have had a long outstanding psychiatric history. They consider how gravely disabled the conservatee presents.
LPS conservatorship is not for life as the probate code allows for limited and probate conservatorships. It must be renewed annually with the courts. Fortunately, if the conservator present sufficient evidence the conservatee is benefitting and still GD the courts will continue the conservatorship for another year.
There are many pros to seeking a conservatorship but it is important to be aware of what challenges lie with LPS conservatorship.
Juvenile Dependency and